Magna Carta For The Poor Signed Into Law
A survey done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) during the last quarter of 2018 has shown that half of the Filipino population consider themselves as poor. Today, a new measure has become a law to address the needs of such people.
The Republic Act 11291 also known as the Magna Carta of the Poor requires departments and government agencies to provide “full access” to government services to the poor. This new measure which will make government services more accessible to the poor population has been signed into law by President Duterte.
In coordination with the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will be identifying the beneficiaries. The classification of the beneficiaries will be based on a poverty threshold set by NEDA; individuals whose income falls below the agency’s set threshold will be qualified. Primarily, it will cater to those who cannot afford minimum basic day-to-day needs such as food, housing, health, and education.
Together with the measure is the procedure for the provision of requirements, conditions, and opportunities for the full enjoyment of basic needs. It mandates that government agencies involved in implementing this law are tasked to do the following to meet these certain rights:
- Right to adequate food
- Ensure the availability and sustainability of food supplies
- Proactively engage the poor in activities intended to promote self-sufficiency
- Right to decent work
- Ensure access to information regarding job openings
- Ensure the compliance of private contractors and subcontractors doing national and local public work projects
- Promote livelihood among the poor
- Ensure compliance with core labor standards, address the job and skills mismatch, and provide training and education
- Right to relevant and quality education
- Maintain a system of free public education in the kindergarten, elementary, and high school level.
- Make higher education accessible to all poor individuals
- Ensure access to quality technical-vocational education and training through scholarships, subsidies, and financial assistance.
- Right to adequate housing
- Prioritize the implementation of the socialized housing program with identified appropriate subsidies
- Immediately construct and provide housing facilities for families living in identified hazardous/danger zones, and in areas affected by disasters/calamities
- Create an enabling environment that will assist the poor to gain access to the security of tenure with the least financial burden
- Provide a system for the speedy processing and approval of community-based socialized housing
- Right to the highest attainable standard of health
- Ensure equitable access to a system of good quality health care
- Provide for comprehensive, universal, culture-sensitive, nondiscriminatory and gender-responsive health services
- Reduce the financial burden of health care and protection of the poor through a socialized health insurance program
- Provide health-related education and information to the community.
Funds from the existing poverty alleviation programs spread through different department and agencies will be used to fund this new law. The agency who will be overseeing the concerned agencies’ compliance with this new measure will be the NAPC.